Allergy Asthma Immunol Res.  2019 Sep;11(5):644-654. 10.4168/aair.2019.11.5.644.

Survey of IgE Reactivity to Nonbiting Midges in Korea and Identification of IgE-Binding Protein

  • 1Department of Environmental Medical Biology, Arthropods of Medical Importance Resource Bank, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Institute of Allergy, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Chironomids (nonbiting midges) are widely and abundantly distributed near ponds, rivers, and artificially dammed pools used for irrigation. Chironomids contain allergens and cause airway allergy in humans. In this study, we aimed to examine the allergic potential of chironomids in inhabitants living near artificially dammed pools.
We examined immunoglobulin E (IgE) reactivity to chironomid extracts in the sera of residents living around installed dams and assessed the correlations of IgE responses between chironomids (Chironomus flaviplumus, Chironomus kiiensis, Cricotopus bicinctus) and house dust mites (Dermatophagoides farinae). In addition, we identified potential IgE binding proteins specific for adult C. bicinctus, a popular species in Korea. Specific IgE antibodies in sera collected from the participants against the extracts were tested using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
The average IgE-positive rates were 10.4%, 8.1%, and 8.2% in C. bicinctus, C. flaviplumus, and C. kiiensis, respectively. The IgE-positive rate and IgE titer of C. bicinctus antigen were higher in residents living around installed dams than in those who lived other places (P = 0.013). Western blotting using sera having high IgE titers to C. bicinctus in ELISA showed the presence of a protein of approximately 42 kDa that was homologous to the actin protein isoform in C. bicinctus extracts as demonstrated using mass spectrometry.
Our results showed that people living near installed dams were more sensitized to C. bicinctus and that the 42 kDa IgE-binding protein could be useful for further studies on chironomid allergic disease and clinical applications.


Nonbiting midges; IgE binding protein; allergy

MeSH Terms

Blotting, Western
Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
Galectin 3
Immunoglobulin E*
Mass Spectrometry
Galectin 3
Immunoglobulin E


  • Fig. 1 The survey areas in Korea.

  • Fig. 2 The IgE reactivities to Cricotopus bicinctus, Chironomus flaviplumus, Chironomus kiiensis, and Dermatophagoides farinae using ELISA. (A) Sera collected from inhabitants living around the installed dam (left) and local controls (right) in Chungnam. (B) Sera collected from inhabitants living around the installed dam (left) and local controls (right) in Gyeongbuk (C) in Gangwon. The cut-off values (dashed lines) were set as the means plus two standard deviations for the control sera. IgE, immunoglobulin E; ELISA, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

  • Fig. 3 Cricotopus bicinctus extracts separated by SDS-PAGE (A) were subjected to immunoblotting with sera from individuals sensitized to house dust mite (lane 1) or C. bicinctus (lane 2) (B). SDS-PAGE, sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.


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